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Archive for the ‘Gloria Steinem’ Category

Larry Flynt's Hustler Taboo and what he was really doing the night of the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival opening of his film

What Larry Flynt was really doing the night
of the opening of Larry Flynt: The Right to Be Left Alone.

On Friday the 13th in April 2007 The Right To Be Left Alone, the latest documentary on Larry Flynt had its world premiere as the “center frame” film at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, sponsored by Duke University, The New York Times and HBO. Flynt was even invited as an honored guest, however his brother showed up instead, because Flynt said he was ill. At the opening, his brother said the reason Flynt was not present was not because he was sick. Maybe he was too busy satisfying his fetish for bondage pornography and not leaving women alone by violating their privacy in every way imaginable on his blog.

There were over 2,000 films entered in the Full Frame Festival, and apparently the Flynt documentary was among only one of two films that escaped the critical review process in an otherwise scholarly environment. Full Frame appears to have given Larry Flynt special protection where it could be assured that his critics were kept silent in order to protect Flynt from criticism. Free Speech, anyone?

Full Frame’s motto is “How much reality can you handle?”, but the filmmakers have produced a manipulative and superficial examination of Flynt, one that uses propaganda tactics and takes their audience for a ride. It is indeed a very unreal portrayal of Flynt which includes even “very little nudity” and hypocritically did not mention any of the massive amounts of racist, homophobic and misogynist materials he produced.

For decades Hustler, his hate magazine, has been on sale in almost every convenience store in the country. During that time, with each new issue every month he has declared war on women, feminists, people of color, animals, Jews, the disabled, children, and animal rights activists, as well as other groups or individual who disagreed with him. Flynt has aimed hate speech and harassment against every mistreated or oppressed groups you can think of. A full generation of males have now been raised on contempt like his and he loves it.

Dwayne Tinsley, close personal friend to Flynt, and the creator of the Hustler cartoon “Chester the Molester,” which depicted pre-teen girls of all races being molested, was convicted in 1990 of sexually abusing his daughter. When he was released from prison, after serving his time, Flynt hired him back on at Huster. In February 1996, Hustler publisher Joe Theron was arrested in Britain with 400 videos imported from South Africa, many of them depicting child pornography.

For all this Flynt is being promoted as a free speech hero instead of the greedy, exploitive, racist misogynist he really is. The right to be left alone? The right to be left alone? In his whole life Larry Flynt has never left anyone alone. Flynt has aimed hate speech and harassment against every oppressed groups you can think of. Big man. Big hero. Thanks Duke University, HBO, New York Times and Full Frame Documentary Festival!

Most people who have seen the Larry Flynt movie think they know who Larry Flynt is. A leading figure in the struggle for free speech, who published, according to our modern eyes, quite innocent nudie-photos and some jokes against the right wing conservatives and Jerry Falwell. Sounds cool but it’s a lie.


Larry Flynt's Hustler Taboo and what he was really doing the night of the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival opening of his film

The real Flynt has little in common with the martyr that he finances people to describe him as. According to his own autobiography Flynt’s first sexual experience was raping a chicken. He killed the chicken to “avoid suspicion”. He has also gone to tremendous degrees in his attempts to silence his daughter from talking about how she was raped by him. He has used his power in the media to attempt to instill intimidation in any who spoke out against pornography. He used his magazine to vilify activist Aura Bogado with hateful, violent and threatening cartoons and articles. In his column called “Asshole of the Month” he has included Barack Obama, Diana Russell, Andrea Dworkin, Dorchen Liedholdt, Gloria Allred, Catharine MacKinnon and hundreds of others. In the 1970s he put out “Wanted Posters” for Gloria Steinem and Susan Brownmiller because they were antipornography. He has offered a bounty on feminists who have been critical against him and done whatever he could to silence whoever would be critical against the racist and misogynic material in his magazines.

The only free speech Larry Flynt really wants is his own and what he wants said, which makes him as much of a defender of free speech as say for example Stalin or Hitler.


Larry Flynt's Hustler Taboo and what he was really doing the night of the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival opening of his film

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by Gloria Steinem
New York Times Op-Ed
January 7th, 1997

Larry Flynt the Movie is even more cynical than Larry Flynt the Man. “The People vs. Larry Flynt” claims that the creator of Hustler magazine is a champion of the First Amendment, deserving our respect. That isn’t true.

Let’s be clear: a pornographer is not a hero, no more than a publisher of Ku Klux Klan books or a Nazi on the Internet, no matter what constitutional protection he secures. And Mr. Flynt didn’t secure much.

The Reverend Jerry Falwell sued him over a Hustler parody that depicted Mr. Falwell in a drunken, incestuous encounter with his mother. Mr. Flynt’s victory only confirmed the right to parody public figures (if the result can’t be taken as fact) and prevented plaintiffs from doing an end run around the First Amendment by claiming they suffered “emotional distress.”

In fact, the Nazis who marched in Skokie, Ill., and the Klansman who advocated violence in Ohio achieved more substantive First Amendment victories than did Mr. Flynt. Yet no Hollywood movie would glamorize a Klansman or a Nazi as a champion of free speech, much less describe him in studio press releases as “the era’s last crusader,” which is how Columbia Pictures describes Mr. Flynt.

In this film, produced by Oliver Stone and directed by Milos Forman, Hustler is depicted as tacky at worst, and maybe even honest for showing full nudity. What’s left out are the magazine’s images of women being beaten, tortured and raped, women subject to degradations from bestiality to sexual slavery.

Filmgoers don’t see such Hustler features as “Dirty Pool,” which in January 1983 depicted a woman being gang-raped on a pool table. A few months after those pictures were published, a woman was gang-raped on a pool table in New Bedford, Mass. Mr. Flynt’s response to the crime was to publish a postcard of another nude woman on a pool table, this time with the inscription, “Greetings from New Bedford, Mass. The Portuguese Gang-Rape Capital of America.”

Nor do you see such typical Hustler photo stories as a naked woman in handcuffs who is shaved, raped, and apparently killed by guards in a concentration-camp-like setting (“The Naked and the Dead”). You won’t even meet “Chester the Molester,” the famous Hustler cartoon character who sexually stalks girls.

You certainly don’t see such Hustler illustrations as a charred expanse of what looks like human skin, with photos of dead and dismembered women pinned to it.

On the contrary, the Hollywood version of Larry Flynt, played by the charming Woody Harrelson is opposed to violence. At an anti-censorship rally, he stands against a backdrop of beautiful images of nude women that are intercut with scenes of Hiroshima, marching Nazis, and the My Lai Massacre. “Which is more obscene,” the Flynt character asks, “sex or war?” Viewers who know Hustler’s real content might ask, “Why can’t Larry Flynt tell the difference?”

Mr. Flynt’s daughter Tonya, 31, is so alarmed by this film’s dishonesty that she joined women who picketed its opening in San Francisco. She also publicly accused Mr. Flynt of having sexually abused her when she was a child, a charge he vehemently denies, and attributes to her “mental problems.”

“I’m upset about this film because it supports my dad’s argument that pornography does no harm,” she said. “If you want to see a victim of pornography, just look at me.”

Unlike his film character, the real Mr. Flynt is hardly an unwavering advocate of free speech. Indeed other feminists and I have been attacked in Hustler for using our First Amendment rights to protest pornography. In my case, that meant calling me dangerous and putting my picture on a “Most Wanted” poster. I was also depicted as the main character in a photo story that ended in my sexual mutilation. Given the number of crimes that seem to imitate pornography, this kind of attack does tend to get your attention.

So, no, I am not grateful to Mr. Flynt for protecting my freedom, as the film and its enthusiasts suggest I should be. No more than I would be to a racist or fascist publisher whose speech is protected by the Constitution.

My question is: Would men be portrayed as inviting, deserving, and even enjoying their own pain and degradation–as women are in Mr. Flynt’s life work?

Suppose Mr. Flynt specialized in such images as a young African American man trussed up like a deer, and tied to the luggage rack of a white hunter’s car. Or a nude white man fed into a meat grinder? (Those are some of the milder ways in which Hustler portrays women.)

Would Oliver Stone–who rarely lets powerful men emerge unscathed–bowdlerize and flatter that kind of man, too? Would Woody Harrelson–who supports animal rights and protests the cutting of trees–pose happily next to that Larry Flynt? Would Milos Forman defend that film by citing his memories of censorship under the Nazis?

What if the film praised an anti-Semitic publisher? Would it be nominated for five Golden Globes? Would there be cameos by Donna Hanover Giuliani, the wife of New York City’s Mayor; Burt Neuborne, a New York University law professor; Judge D’Army Bailey of the Memphis Circuit Court or James Carville, President Clinton’s former political consultant? I don’t think so.

The truth is, if Larry Flynt had published the same cruel images even of animals, this movie would never have been made. Fortunately, each of us has the First Amendment right to protest.

Gloria Steinem, a founder of Ms. Magazine, is a writer and activist against pornography and censorship. 

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